Why he was selected: Koenen won the singles title on Saturday at the Geneva Boys Tennis Sectional
St. Charles East junior Jasper Koenen might not have won the sectional title in the fashion he would have liked but the Saints' standout still earned his third sectional singles title in as many tries. In the final, Koenen beat teammate Justin Bowman, who retired after the first set due to exhaustion and to conserve his balky back for this week's state tournament. Koenen, the St. Charles Bank & Trust-Kane County Chronicle Athlete of the Week, spoke with Chronicle sports editor Jay Schwab about his triumph and this week's state tournament, which begins Thursday. The following is an edited transcript:
So where does a sectional title rank on your to-do list for the season?
We were really hoping for getting that sectional title as a team and also me individually to get it was really exciting. We didn't real know we had a chance to win it as a team because both of our doubles teams lost in the first round. … Last year we won by a larger margin but this year both doubles lost so we didn't think we had chance but just the way it worked out, we won by one point. That was pretty cool to win it [as a team], and for me to win it three years [in a row], that was pretty special, too.
If Justin was fresher on Saturday, would that have been a match that you would have looked forward to?
It's not really a match I look forward to because it's your teammate. … You always start off on the opposite side of the draw with teammates and the only time you can play them in a tournament is to play them in the final so being able to play is cool because you're both in the final and bringing in so many points for your team but it's not a fun match to [play]. Not fun for him, and not fun for me.
What's your mindset for this week?
You've got some nerves but I really just hope I can be a contender to win state this year. It's really going to be based on how they seed me. Last year was 17-32, this year I'm really hoping for 5-8 seed based on my performance. (Koenen received a 9-16 seed on Tuesday afternoon).